DLA Piper, a top-five Global 100 firm, has successfully completed a back office administration and support restructure to better serve the needs of fee earners, increase administrative efficiencies and reduce the cost of delivering back office legal support services.
In the early stages of the restructure, DLA developed a shared resource model to replace the traditional one-to-one relationship between fee earners and legal secretaries. The new multi-level teams were intended to not only be more efficient in supporting multiple fee earners at a time, but more cost effective by ensuring the right work was always completed by the right people at the right cost to the business. Senior administrators would be able to add more value by focusing on higher level tasks and more generic, repetitive work could be delegated to more junior, lower cost resources.
Initially, the new model was supported by an internally developed tool, but it quickly became apparent that it lacked the visibility required to facilitate effective task delegation across teams and to ensure the right tasks were going to the right level of resource at all times. Sonji Le Blanc, Senior Project Manager at DLA Piper explains, “To enable staff to delegate tasks to appropriately skilled resources, DLA required an easy to use and more robust solution – a fluid, highly visual tool for users and one that provided management with a single view of all tasks at once on a dashboard.”
DLA Piper implemented BigHand Now to facilitate the effective capture, delegation and reporting of legal tasks throughout the business. Following swift user adoption, DLA now reports over 8,000 tasks being sent through the BigHand Now system each month by over 1,000 daily users, with the proportion of work being carried out by lower level staff having more than doubled within six months. Moreover, as the roll-out of BigHand Now expands, both internally and across the wider business, this is expected to increase further.
For fee earners, BigHand Now has enabled effective task management and better communication across the business, which has increased turnaround times both internally and externally. For support staff, BigHand Now has presented a new and unique opportunity to collaborate; from entering tasks on behalf of a fee earner and effectively delegating work to another resource team, to being able to actively choose which tasks they’d prefer to undertake. Le Blanc explains, “Growing numbers of firms are moving towards this collaborative approach and they want to know what we’re achieving with BigHand Now. The ability to share work across teams and across offices is fundamental to the way we are able to retain, grow and deliver better job satisfaction, not to mention providing better service more economically over longer hours of the day for our fee earners.”
In summary of the BigHand project, Norma Spearman, Chief Legal Support Officer at DLA Piper comments, “The bi-product has been cost reduction achieved as a result of allocating more tasks to lower level, lower cost resources and the ability to proactively manage staff to improve their skillsets and enhance job satisfaction. BigHand Now has unlocked an ongoing project that will continuously deliver ongoing benefits.”
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